Faith, Family & Alcoholism | Sasha The Healer Of Rubtsovsk & His Personal Pain

Sasha coming home

 

Visual Artist and Documentary Photographer Valentin Sidorenko is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From the project ‘Where the world ends’.  To see Valentin’s body of work, click on any image.

 

Sasha at his mother’s house, in the room where he helps people. He said it’s impossible to do this without prayers. It is a reason why he invokes the Holy Ghost and the ancestral Spirits before the therapy.

 

Sasha goes into the church to say a prayer for his ancestors. “I’ve got the gift from ancestors. I can smell everything in the world. It gets shame sometimes because I can see right through them.”

 

Sasha is holding a woman’s hand, she was asking for his help.

 

Sasha’s whip, which is used for healing session and treatment of people.

 

Sasha is 45 years old. His grandmother was a spiritual healer, and he inherited her talent. Sasha believes he can talk to spirits and improve the fate of others, but he needs alcohol to do that since alcohol is his mediator. Sasha is living in Rubtsovsk city, Altai Krai. The city is known for correctional colonies. Many inhabitants of the city are former prisoners. Sasha has never been in prison, but he’s done some things in his past he’s not too proud of.  He is a regular churchgoer. His belief doesn’t prevent him from being healer.

There are a lot of conflicts in his family because of his heavy drinking. And often Sasha leaves his home and goes to his mother’s place. His mother is a healer too, and she understands Sasha’s need to heal, but she believes he can do it without alcohol. ‘I drink, and will drink when I want to,’ says Sasha. He looks for the opportunity to leave his cage, and find some person who needs his help.

I know Sasha for a long time. He is part of my family. He reads a lot, he is a witty person. As he always says: ‘Alexander means ‘Protector’’. But there was always a dark side of him. When he drunk, everything went into pieces. And I began to ask myself, why is he drinking? Is it a problem that is inevitable for his generation? A year ago I found out about his talent, and this story started to develop. I understand this conflict between him and his family, however, despite this, the family is the most important thing for Sasha.

 

Sasha in his mother’s bedroom

 

Sasha is embracing his mother and brother.
“I was three years old boy. This was the first time that I saw the end of the world. It was in a dream. When I woke up, I told mom this dream. She was wondering and couldn’t understand me. Thereafter I was in trouble, I burned my eyes. Thanks to my mom, I had my vision restored.”

 

There is no contradiction between Christianity and Paganism for Sasha, that’s why he always wears cross and talisman around his neck for protection against evil.

 

Since childhood, Sasha has been known how to navigate the woods and to have knowledge of herbs. A talent he learned from his grandmother. He was living at her house in the village for a while. “There are dimensions, where wood goblin and devil are living. It’s all here, just see it.”

 

“I drink to make me feel better. It’s just really hard to be in another world. I get out of this portal, I’m getting unstable, my soul doesn’t know where to stay: here or in another world. I’m so tired of it.”

 

All images and text © Valentin Sidorenko

 

 

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By Valentin Sidorenko

 

 

 

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